“I get hiccups whenever I eat rye bread. Is this normal?”
Many people have food triggers that can cause the annoying, involuntary chest spasms known as hiccups. Sensitivity to certain foods, such as milk, wheat or spicy fare, can produce gas in the stomach, which presses against the diaphragm, causing hiccups. Carbonated beverages also are a common source of stomach gas, which can lead to hiccups.
Eating very hot or very cold foods can irritate the phrenic nerve, which is near the esophagus, and trigger a bout of hiccups as well.
Are you gulping your rye bread? Eating too much food too quickly and swallowing air while you eat are common causes of hiccups. To avoid this, eat slowly and thoroughly chew your food. Since hiccups can also be triggered by stress and excitement, it’s important to take your time and relax during meals.
But your hiccups may not be caused by rye bread at all. Some medications, such as benzodiazepines, opiate painkillers and corticosteroids, and drinking alcoholic beverages are known to cause hiccups. And certain medical conditions, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), pneumonia and kidney disease, are associated with frequent bouts of hiccups.
If your hiccups are persistent and painful, consult a gastroenterologist. But if it’s just an occasional annoyance, try one of these remedies: Bite on a lemon…or close your ears with your fingers while slowly drinking water through a straw. Or take a deep breath, hold it for as long as you can, then slowly breathe out. These tips really work!